First of all, we need to understand that triple talaq has been banned in 22 Muslim-majority countries worldwide. So, it is not a revolutionary change that the BJP led govt wishes to implement to favour its own political discourse.
It is wrong for the government to criminalise triple talaq without truly ensuring social and financial security for Muslim women. It is not going to empower Muslim women if the husband is sent to prison and the wife is left stranded with her in-laws with meagre allowance and children to feed. Who is going to provide that allowance and what will be the sum? And how will the government ensure such laws are not misused?
Muslim society in India, especially in the rural parts, is pretty regressive and has a patriarchal hierarchy. The trouble collectively is that this regressive thought has also left the women uneducated and poor.
If the BJP intends to bring a radical change, first change the act which deals with Muslim marriage and put the upper age limit to 18 or even 20 for marriage.
Secondly, they should look at providing a subsidiary skill-based education to women of all communities to truly empower them.
Thirdly, the government needs to create an easy loan machinery for the women of these communities to uplift them.
Banning instant talaq itself should have been enough, rather than making it a punishable offence. You can’t change the mentality of a community with fear, you can only achieve a tactical transformation in a slow and systematic way. People of that community must find benefit in your policies if as a government you truly care for the people.
For example, can the BJP make child marriages in Rajasthan a severely criminal offence, where parents of both the parties would be sent to jail and temples who support this practice will be shut closed? Reading this, many Hindus may get agitated, but you can’t change their way of life in a day or even a year. Perhaps a decade might bring a fractional amount of change – and we have to start somewhere.
If you jail parents whose children are involved in underage marriage – then what happens to the children? Why do our politicians not think decisions through? In many parts of India, child labour is still being practised. When will India truly implement that great promise of ‘Acche Din’ to the poorest of the poor?
In my opinion, the BJP is definitely trying to revise its image and draw the vote bank of progressive Muslims by projecting a picture, of caring for them as a community. Whether at all it would be successful, we’d only know after the elections.
Will we, for God’s sake, stop blaming triple talaq and truly focus on the greater problems of the Muslim community in India?
And not just the Muslim community, we should do this for all the other communities as well, to make them more educated and progressive.
I think Khaled Hosseini, along with many other strong Muslim writers should be read by Muslim women for their own good. And for them being able to read that, they must be educated.
First, in India, the government should make it compulsory to present a certificate stating that you have passed high school at least, for getting married. If this is not done, and if found guilty the Muslim cleric or the Hindu priest or any holy man who conducts the marriage ceremony can be charged with perjury. Making English compulsory in school for at least for four years is another change that should happen. Yes, Hindi is our official language, but everyone needs to know basic English in India.
And there are millions of other revolutionary changes a political party, if it intends to, can attempt to bring, rather than making everything a debate of faith-fringed fragmentation.
What it does is, it leaves common folks thinking that politics is filthy and full of murk. But in reality, it is one of the primary institutions along with the legal system, which is there to establish a democratic system to bridge the gaps between different strata of society, both economically and socially. But instead, what this institution does is sow a sense of division based on complex and differentiation.
We have come a long way from 1947. 70 long years. But still, we lack in implementing a people favouring system.
Child labour, human trafficking, rape, false accusations of spouses in the system of the judiciary, millions of pending cases, and much more could have been easily solved or at least attempted to be reformed. A few have been, but most still have not been duly implemented.
I think as a government, all must focus towards that. There are many adept economists, political scientist, social scientists, human right activities in India, who possess a progressive mentality in India. Pull them into the system, but only if as a government, you truly wish to make India better.
Miles to go before I take a rest
Under the shades of the peepal tree
Which I sowed on a windy day
When I was still a kid
The autumnal chill tried to fade it
The summer’s heat tried to burn it
The winter tried to bury it in snow
The rain tried to uproot it from the soil.
But it lived to offer me its spring of shade
The same peepal tree which I had once sowed & reaped
On a cold, windy day.